Personal Biography

This is a page about myself. Who I am. What (and who) I love. Where I'm from. That kind of thing. By the way, even if you don't have a blog, writing a biography is a good existential exercise. I recommend it. It's an on-going process since you're always learning more about yourself.

For my vocational biography see this page and for information about the blog specifically (what I write about, etc.) see my the blog about page.

I'm an Enneagram Type 6w5, ESTJ, Upholder-Questioner. It feels most natural for me to introduce myself relative to my roles and relationships, so let's start there.

Roles & Relationships:

I'm a wife. I've been married 23 years to Damien. We met and married while I was in university, ie: we were young. We've had many adventures, we've weathered changes in ourselves and our marriage, and we're in it for the long haul.

I'm a mother to Céline, Laurent, and Brienne who are in their late teens and early young adulthood. They are my heart and raising them has been the primary occupation and pre-occupation of my adult years. And a big focus of writing on my blog.

I'm a homeschooler, currently wrapping up that vocation as I graduate my kids from homeschooled high school and help guide them into adult work and studies. (Wish me luck!)

I'm a writer and online content producer. I grew into that work through blogging and I'm now self-employed as a part-time freelancer.

I'm a homemaker. I keep things organized, manage resources and spaces, create a cozy and welcoming environment, putz in the garden, and occasionally make stuff with my hands. Home is a safe space for my people to be who they are.

I'm a thinker and an educator. A bachelors of Education started me on this track, freedom homeschooling my kids for 15+ years got me established and it's my intention to build a future career on this foundation.

I'm a traveler, adventurer, and outdoors woman. I need to go places. I need to be active. I need to regularly be in nature, wearing a backpack, moving on skis, sleeping in a tent. I'd love to add a bike, kayak, and small camp trailer to my list of gear. Once upon a time I hiked the Appalachian Trail with my family.

Like I wrote on my vocational biography (there is a lot of overlap between the professional and personal in my life) I write, teach, think about, talk about, and take care of things related to human well-being in personal, familial, community, and educational contexts. My work and my heart is about People, Spirit, and Ideas.

Things I love:

This is an on-going and evolving list of the things I love. I'm allowing myself to celebrate my love for many things, even those things that seem contrary or contradictory to each other.

being in the mountains and the woods, mountain culture, tending my garden, reading stories, listening to thought-provoking podcasts, weekday afternoon naps, weekend afternoon naps, the American West, the West Coast from California to British Columbia, the Gaspe Peninsula, Nova Scotia, New England, Montreal, the color red (and yellow, green, purple, blue, and orange, jewel tones especially), Scandinavian white and pine aesthetic, the idea of Alaska and the Yukon (haven't been yet to say I love them), history, maps, historical fiction, genealogy, dancing, live folk/roots/world music, home - the ideal and the reality, discovering new places, buying food from farmer's markets, family dinners, the ocean, meeting new people, sleeping in a tent, cabins in the woods, tiny camping trailers, tiny house living videos, interspiritual and interfaith dialogue and exchanges, my children's art, cycling in Montreal,...

Intellectual Interests:

I am a thinker, writer, and a doer. I'm fascinated by the heart of an idea (or person), the why behind the how, the foundation upon which principles and procedures are built, and the belief behind actions. I ask a lot of questions and like to think about things deeply but I'm not afraid to roll up my sleeves to do the work of managing, building, and serving.

I'm a freedom fighter and I'm passionate about individuals flourishing while embedded in, and supported by, larger systems - familial, ecological, political, social, etc. The interplay between individual and collective freedom, the quest for a just society, and many other topics as related to freedom, responsibility, and love are ideas that captivate my intellectual imagination.

I'm energized by exploring ideas at the intersection and convergence of spirituality, psychology, sociology, education, developmental science, neuroscience, philosophy and theology.

These interests keep spinning out into further circles of inquiry and investigation. Going to those edges makes life endlessly fascinating.

I wish I had a greater capacity for reading large tomes of non-fiction in the above areas of interest, but mostly, right now at least, I access these ideas in podcasts, TEDTalks, and online articles. My favorite bedtime reading is memoir, historical fiction, and stories (fiction and non-fiction) of adventure, family, place, belonging, and identity.

History & Place:

Where I come from, where I am right now, and where I'm going, these are all very important markers in my life.

I am originally from the prairies of Alberta, Canada and I consider myself a westerner at heart, in terms of an overall mindset and approach to living. Although all of North America is "in the west", there are distinct cultural differences between east and west.

I tend to identify more strongly with the western individualist mindset, especially in my current context of Quebec - a very collective, nationalistic, and system-orientated society. I'm more western by philosophy but appreciate a lot of the eastern community and solidarity ethic also. It's complicated.

Since leaving Alberta at the age of 24, with my husband and a one year old baby, I've made homes in New Jersey, Maine, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

I currently live in the cosmopolitan hub of Montreal, a city I adore. I am energized by the bubbly ferment of local community groups, city gardens, live music, museums, art galleries, cool cafes, architecture, diversity, universities and colleges, and easy IKEA access.

I am drained by pollution, loud noises, pot-smoking neighbors, driving, road construction, and the busy pace.

When life is filled more with the former and less of the latter, and with regular and extended doses of nature and mountains, I'm happy in the city.

Although I'm anglophone (we have French names, see this post for that story), I am actively studying French to become a more integrated part of French-speaking Montreal and Quebec society.

Dreams:

Dreams change over the years and sometimes when they come to pass they aren’t what you think they will be. Reality doesn’t meet the expectation. So I’m cautious about dreaming, but I'm cautious in general. Even so, I have a dreams that I will:

find that place on earth where I feel I truly belong. A place that feels unequivocally home, no caveats, concessions or conditions. My heart tells me two things: home is in the mountains (east or west) and it’s with family. I don’t know how to make these 2 things co-exist in my life, and so I'm still searching, and not rooted to a particular place.

watch my children grow into livelihoods and vocations, find partners and communities of belonging, and start their own families. And I want to share as much of that story with them as they can stand to have me around. Since we’re talking about the kids and their kids, multi-generational communal family living is my ultimate dream - a shared living arrangement (minus gun-toting survivalist bunker ideology) where grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren share the work, the joys, the resources and expenses of living.

have a career, for the next 25+ years, in thinking and writing and educating towards greater human freedom and flourishing. I’d like to be known for having something important to say and expressing it well.

become a wise old woman who supports younger generations with presence, wisdom, humility, and good humour. I want to putter in my wildflower garden, teach my grands and great-grands about nature while we hike through the woods on the side of the mountain where we all live in our family compound.

have a home filled with art and music, shared stories, discussions of big ideas, laughter, and hospitality.

spend the rest of my days with my friend, lover, partner and the father of my children, Damien. We’ve come through so much I can’t imagine having the energy or the heart to start that journey over again. To be known this deeply and still be loved and to love someone likewise is one of life's greatest gifts.

visit and discover new-to-me places, especially wild and natural areas, where I will hike, backpack, ski (and other means of human transportation I haven't done yet) with my loved ones; building connections to nature, God, and each other.

The End...

I would say the unifying mission of my life, the thread running through the whole experience, is the desire to know the love of God with my whole being, to live in the freedom of Christ, and to be enlivened by the Spirit; to seek beauty, order, and truth; and to build relationships where people feel loved, connected, free, and sustained.

My God grant you that the resolution of your heart shall come upon you while you are yet on earth, and may God bless your path.

~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

All art on this page by Laurent Tougas.